The Yonge and Eglinton area has experienced significant growth and I believe it is vital that we ensure that the community is an attractive place to live, work and play. Our quality of life should always be the focus of urban planning.
That’s why I initiated a review of the area’s secondary plan (which should’ve been done many years ago) to support additional services and infrastructure for our midtown neighbourhoods to finally keep up with the pace of growth in this provincially designated urban growth centre. I’ve been actively working with the City and the Midtown Working Group to develop a plan for the Yonge and Eglinton area, Midtown in Focus, that ensures the ingredients of a livable community are in place, including parks and public spaces, community services and facilities such as affordable daycare and recreation, transportation and servicing infrastructure. An important part of this initiative is a focus on heritage preservation.
As part of the Midtown in Focus study, I’m very happy to announce that today Heritage Preservation Services is supporting recommendations to include an unprecedented list of 258 main street properties on the City’s Heritage Register at the Toronto Preservation Board. This represents the largest number of properties ever recommended for heritage protection in a single report brought forward at City Hall in Toronto’s history.
This report is the result of a huge undertaking by Heritage Preservation staff to evaluate the historic and cultural merit of each of these properties. I was delighted to work with them on this initiative through the Midtown in Focus study and look forward to continuing to work together to help protect what’s left of Midtown’s architectural heritage. We’ve lost too much already.
City Planning will also be reporting back today on council’s request to implement a city-wide heritage survey. As you may recall, I successfully moved a motion several years ago that sought a more timely and proactive method for providing protection to Toronto’s heritage-worthy properties under the Ontario Heritage Act. Since then, three more motions were passed at City Council earlier this year with the same mandate, in the wake of the wanton demolition of a historic bank building at 2444 Yonge Street.
I have always advocated for the most appropriate development on a given site that’s respectful of its existing surroundings and respectful of community.
It’s imperative that we identify an efficient and effective method for staying ahead of the wrecking ball when it comes to our ability to preserve the historical structures, sites and even views that help tell Toronto’s story. Shaping a vibrant and livable future for our great city must include an understanding of- and respect for- its past.
Today, with this landmark step to protect our city’s heritage, we are making history.